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Kasukuwere set to challenge Mnangagwa in presidential election

Former cabinet Minister Saviour Kasukuwere is set to formally announce his presidential candidature ahead of the 2023 harmonised general elections.

After rumors have been spread that the former Zanu-PF political commissar was planning to challenge President Emmerson Mnangagwa in the upcoming plebiscite, Kasukuwere has finally come out in the open stating that there have been calls for him to contest.

Prominent journalist and SABC editor Sophie Mokoena asked him on Twitter if rumors that he wanted to be a presidential candidate were true.

Kasukuwere responded stating that he will be making a formal statement on his candidature.

“Sophie good morning. The call has been made and yes I will be making a formal statement on my candidature. Thank you for asking,” he said.

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Kasukuwere is one of few former Zanu-PF members who fled the country in November 2017 during a military coup that ousted late former President Robert Mugabe.

A vanquished G-40 team comprising of former cabinet Ministers Jonathan Moyo, Walter Mzembi, Patrick Zhuwao, Kasukuwere and and former Zanu-PF central committee member Mandi Chimene skipped the border after Mnangagwa grabbed power from Mugabe.

During the peak of factionalism in Zanu-PF before the coup, the G-40 members were opposed to Mnangagwa’s succession plan.

When the military took over power from Mugabe in November 2017, it is believed that the former President himself negotiated for the safe exit of his loyalists before he resigned.

Zhuwao and Moyo, who are living in self-imposed exile in South Africa and Kenya respectively, last year wrote an open letter apologising for supporting opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) and pushing the hashtag #ZanuPFMustGo.

“Between 2018 and 2020 — on the back of the 15 November 2017 military coup that ousted President Mugabe and his government from power and violently targeted us and other comrades linked with the so-called G40 – we associated ourselves and used the hashtag ‘Zany PF Must Go’ (#ZanuPFMustGo), in our public messaging and communication.

“Whereas we stopped using the hashtag and disassociated ourselves from it quite some time back, it is our considered judgment that we owe you a long overdue apology for having used the hashtag and for having associated ourselves with it, in the first place,” read part of the letter.

Their apology was viewed by many as Zhuwao and Moyo’s first step towards rejoining the ruling party. Effectively, Moyo has since stopped criticising Mnangagwa. Instead, his Twitter handle largely blasts the opposition.

Meanwhile, their apology was embraced by Zanu-PF, with the ruling party’s spokesperson Christopher Mutsvangwa saying it confirmed Mnangagwa’s unifying qualities.

“We welcome them back in the fold, this is a party of the revolution, everybody belongs to it. Recently we had the President revisiting the heroes of the Second Chimurenga, and including James Chikerema and Ndabaningi Sithole as national heroes.

“It is in the same spirit that we welcome both Zhuwao and Professor Moyo to the party and we want to see how we can work together so that we bring prosperity to the people, we don’t look at past differences, we look at opportunities that can arise when all Zimbabweans come together,” Mutsvangwa said.